“Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a 2010 survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions” (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, September 28, 2010, http://www.pewforum.org/U-S-Religious-Knowledge-Survey.aspx).
“More than four-in-ten Catholics in the United States (45%) do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ. About half of Protestants (53%) cannot correctly identify Martin Luther as the person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant Reformation, which made their religion a separate branch of Christianity. Roughly four-in-ten Jews (43%) do not recognize that Maimonides, one of the most venerated rabbis in history, was Jewish.”
What factors seem to contribute to religious knowledge according to the Pew Forum?
- educational attainment, how much schooling an individual has completed, is the single best predictor of religious knowledge
- reading Scripture at least once a week
- talking about religion with friends and family
- those who say that they attend worship services at least once a week and that religion is very important in their lives
- regularly attending religious education classes or participation in a parish youth group
- those who attend private school score better on average than those who attended public school when they were growing up (interestingly, however, those who attended a private religious school score no better than those who attended a private nonreligious school)
Information above appears in the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life published September 28, 2010. For the entire article please follow the attached link: U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey.